Yes, prices have gone up, and so most of us will have to handle our spending a little differently. Fortunately, most children will understand how the cost of living affects family spending, if you explain it to them clearly. Talk it through with them, and you could help them get a better understanding of how things might be a bit different when it comes to family spending. Try these tips.

Keep it simple

Explaining the cost of living crisis is hard for grown-ups, let alone children. There’s disagreement on the causes, the solutions, and the likely length of these hard times. As the children’s clinical psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, told NatWest MoneySense, you should try hard to bring things down to a kids’ level. “We should acknowledge that this topic may not be very accessible, even for many adults,” says Dr Kilbey. “If you’re talking to primary-aged children about things like the rising cost of living, it’s important to understand that the focus, for them, will be close to home. Their world at this age chiefly consists of them, their family and their school.”

Rather than talk about the pandemic, the war in Ukraine or Brexit, start with something less scary. If they join you at the supermarket, you could point out how the prices have risen over the past year; if gaming currencies have gone up (and some have), discuss why; or if they’re in the car at a petrol station, you could talk through the rising price of fuel.

Tell them that they’ll be OK

Children don’t know that much about money, and may start overthinking if they hear their parents are worried about prices. Make sure you put a stop to those fears by offering  some reassurances and comfort. “In response, you could say that you understand that they’re worried about that, and grown-ups are talking about it a lot, but that we talk about things in order to solve problems, and we’re coming up with solutions. The most important thing is to let them know that things are ok,” recommends Dr Kilbey.

Explain inflation

Inflation is a big part of the cost of living crisis, and perhaps easier to explain to kids than you may think. At NatWest Rooster Money, we’ve drawn up lots of primers to help teach kids about money. This inflation piece has talking points and games to help children understand why prices have gone up. Why not run through it?

Work out what you all value the most as a family

Family  days out can sometimes end up being quite expensive . Talk with your children about what they really like. Maybe they’d enjoy going on a nature walk or bike ride, or visiting museums – many of which are free.

Use Rooster Money to budget for things

Our app lets kids save towards goals, and track their spending. Why not encourage your children to try to start saving a little, manage their own budgets, or go over what they’ve been spending and see what they may not want to spend money on in the future.*

*NatWest Rooster Money is for kids aged 3+. Rooster Card for kids aged 6-17, fees may apply for other features. Spend, top up limits & T&Cs apply. Subscription auto renews unless cancelled.